I hope you find inspiration for what to read next in my inaugural round up of the best of the best books that I’ve read and reviewed in 2015! I read nearly eighty books this year and out of those books, these are the ones I wanted to share with you. Look for the genres you love and for each book listed you can find my review and the Amazon buy link to make it easy peasy lemon squeezy for you to have enough books to see you through the holidays – enjoy!!
Escapades of a suburban school mum, no sexy shmexy here but lots and lots of guaranteed belly laughs. So far I’ve only read one Mummy Lit genre book but next year I’m scouting for more because I adored this one so much! Up and In was also picked as the stand out fiction book of 2015 by the “So What Are You Reading” team on their end of year video, so it’s not just me who is shouting about it.
Up and In – Deborah Disney
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229044002
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Up-Deborah-Disney-ebook/dp/B00LZB9FFY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446214589&sr=1-1&keywords=up+and+in
Romantic comedy books that will brighten any day with lots of laugh out loud moments. These are my go-to books to escape from reality when my reality is crazy-busy-stressed-out-mum-life. They’re also a great read after I’ve read a heavy book.
Dear Internet: It’s Me Avery – Jennifer Ammoscato
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1244506275
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Internet-Avery-Fowler-Book-ebook/dp/B00XNP1PLC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280772&sr=1-1&keywords=dear+internet+its+me+avery
Cocktails at Le Carmen – Isabelle Andover
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1306758177
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Cocktails-at-Carmen-Isabelle-Andover-ebook/dp/B00XZS6EAO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446215532&sr=1-1&keywords=cocktails+at+andover
The OMG Test – Pippa Franks
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381870103
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/OMG-Test-Pippa-Franks-ebook/dp/B00SXKFSZ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446215659&sr=1-1&keywords=the+OMG+pippa
Husband Hunters – Genevieve Gannon
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1414311432
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Husband-Hunters-Genevieve-Gannon-ebook/dp/B00MLLK8SA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278368&sr=1-1&keywords=husband+hunters
Yes Chef – Lisa Joy
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1258766205
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Yes-Chef-Joy-Lisa-ebook/dp/B00LIQ9HP4/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1450520827&sr=1-2&keywords=yes+chef
Prosecco and Paparazzi (The Passport Book 1) – Celia Kennedy
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381870611
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Prosecco-Paparazzi-Passport-Book-1-ebook/dp/B0163F3BWO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278426&sr=1-1&keywords=prosecco+and+paparazzi
Up To I Do – Samantha March
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381879431
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Up-I-Do-Samantha-March-ebook/dp/B012L6IP3E/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1448849246&sr=1-1&keywords=Up+to+I+do
Confetti Confidential: They Do, I Don’t – Susan Murphy
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229047556
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Confetti-Confidential-They-Do-Dont-ebook/dp/B00OFDQK5M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278584&sr=1-1&keywords=they+do%2C+i+don%27t
Dating the Alphabet – Samantha Napier
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229047162
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Dating-Alphabet-Samantha-Napier-ebook/dp/B00RKOJ9R4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278674&sr=1-1&keywords=dating+the+alphabet
What’s it Gonna Be? – Cassandra Piat
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381888630
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Whats-gonna-romantic-comedy-Mauritius-ebook/dp/B00RABO7R4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278751&sr=1-1&keywords=cassandra+piat
Have the tissues handy and be ready to have your heart strings tugged at. These books really moved me and it’s my favourite genre!
Outback Promise – Maggie Bilotho
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1414329205
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Outback-Promise-Maggie-Bolitho-ebook/dp/B013O98W6W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278827&sr=1-1&keywords=outback+promise
Losing Kate – Kylie Kaden
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381863847
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Kate-Kylie-Kaden-ebook/dp/B00H30IZ7U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450520595&sr=8-1&keywords=Losing+kate
What Matters Most – Dianne Maguire
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1244261297
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/What-Matters-Most-Dianne-Maguire-ebook/dp/B00TNTXYK2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446278927&sr=1-1&keywords=dianne+maguire
Season of Shadow and Light – Jenn J Mc Leod
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1407990549
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com.au/Season-Shadow-Light-Seasons-Quartet-ebook/dp/B00S2SU5U2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446279029&sr=8-1&keywords=season+of+shadow+and+light
The Replacement Wife – Rowena Wiseman
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381864879
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Replacement-Wife-Rowena-Wiseman-ebook/dp/B00WDN9R24/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279706&sr=1-5&keywords=the+replacement+wife
Fall in love with these beautiful stories of the heart and you’ll also find yourself falling for the major swoon-worthy leading men. Even knowing there was bound to be a feel good romantic ending with these novels made no difference to how glued I was to discover the journey to happily ever after.
Down Outback Roads – Alissa Callen
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1318923494
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Down-Outback-Roads-Alissa-Callen-ebook/dp/B00IEM4Y2Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279110&sr=1-1&keywords=down+outback+roads
The House at the Bottom of the Hill – Jennie Jones
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1248240549
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/House-Bottom-Hill-Swallows-Fall-ebook/dp/B00PA4O4VM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279257&sr=1-1&keywords=the+house+at+the+bottom+of+the+hill
Fairway to Heaven – Lily Malone
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1248241758
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Fairway-Heaven-Lily-Malone-ebook/dp/B00TQIML4A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279347&sr=1-1&keywords=fairway+to+heaven
A Leap in Time – Engy Albasel Neville
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1306760124
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Leap-Time-Travelers-Albasel-Neville-ebook/dp/B00OFBHICI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279463&sr=1-1&keywords=a+leap+in+time
Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm – Rebecca Raisin
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1248239944
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Maple-Syrup-Farm-Lifetime-ebook/dp/B00OQD8HNY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279549&sr=1-1&keywords=secrets+at+the+maple+syrup+farm
Luna Tango – Alli Sinclair
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1245156055
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com.au/Luna-Tango-Dance-Card-Book-ebook/dp/B00K5IZ4QW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279663&sr=1-1&keywords=luna+tango
Books that will keep you guessing and also have sexy sizzle or heartfelt romance in them too. These stories range from sweet romance to whoa baby and I loved them all!
A Pretty Mess – Carla Caruso
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229045845
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Mess-Astonvale-novel-ebook/dp/B00KEZ7W0M/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279786&sr=1-1&keywords=a+pretty+mess
Pieces of a Lie – Rowena Holloway
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381871458
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Pieces-Lie-Rowena-Holloway-ebook/dp/B00NXGIWEY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1449414219&sr=1-1&keywords=pieces+of+a+lie
The Trouble with Dying – Maggie Le Page
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1473164892
Amazon buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Dying-Maggie-Page-ebook/dp/B00QTAAGFY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1450520727&sr=1-1&keywords=The+trouble+with+dying
Lethal in Love: Episode one – Michelle Somers
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1381873428
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Lethal-Love-Episode-Michelle-Somers-ebook/dp/B00UJ2UEJQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279857&sr=1-1&keywords=lethal+in+love+1
Risking Ruin - Mae Wood
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1244503406
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Risking-Ruin-Give-Memphis-Book-ebook/dp/B00PP6ZTA0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446279945&sr=1-1&keywords=risking+ruin
Not just for young adults. These incredibly talented authors can transcend generations! Moving and addictive reads that me and my daughter loved.
Don’t Call Me Kit Kat – KJ Farnham
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1244504924
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Call-Me-Kit-Kat-ebook/dp/B00XFKMG0O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280023&sr=1-1&keywords=KJ+Farnham
Forget Me Not (Collective Series #1) – Stacey Nash
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1340727666
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Forget-Not-Collective-Stacey-Nash-ebook/dp/B00K1Q9NA6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280104&sr=1-1&keywords=forget+me+not+stacey+nash
Not my usual fare, I’m way too shallow for literary reads, but this page turner is one of my favourite books ever as in ever, ever – it’s Shakespeare like you have never seen him, so this book is defiantly sitting here as the sole representative of this genre. And it is brimming to the full with scandalous SEX so it's not at all slow or tiresome to read!! Next year two of my close friends are releasing historical fiction books so watch this space for more.
Shakespeare’s Will – Meredith Whitford
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229054706
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Will-Meredith-Whitford-ebook/dp/B00C2TK2R8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280193&sr=1-1&keywords=meredith+whitford
Rock star reads
Sexy rock stars with attitude, clearly I have a thing for them, I’ve read books about three of them this year alone and I have two more waiting to be read in the New Year. Have to admit I love masculine rock stars with edge (hellooo Bruce Springsteen) and there are macho bad boys galore in these stories!
A Tide too High – Carole Brungar
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1318925741
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/tide-too-high-Carole-Brungar-ebook/dp/B00P5ZSESA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280275&sr=1-1&keywords=a+tide+too+high
Don’t Mention the Rock Star – Bree Darcy
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1229056569
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Mention-Rock-Star-Darcy-ebook/dp/B00P9T92ME/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280345&sr=1-1&keywords=bree+darcy
Summer Sky – Lisa Swallow
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1306760414
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Sky-Blue-Phoenix-Book-ebook/dp/B00JEYQIFY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280438&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+sky
Some spice and nice to hide from your grandmothers and your children. I’d never read erotica before this year, but after becoming friends with these beautiful ladies who write erotic fiction, I just had to give it a go (so much fun to read when you know the author!). I found these stories to be light-hearted, full of tongue-in-cheek humour and I read the naughtiest scenes out loud to my hubby who did not complain one little bit!
Loving Evie – Juanita Chavez
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1409823771
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Evie-Juanita-Chavez-ebook/dp/B01509EZ8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280505&sr=1-1&keywords=loving+evie
An Upside Down Christmas – Loretta Laird
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1248835590
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Upside-Down-Christmas-Loretta-Laird-ebook/dp/B018T1L7OO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1449414388&sr=1-1&keywords=an+upside+down+christmas
Deep Heat – Selene Zanetti
My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1409828945
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Heat-Spicy-romance-women-ebook/dp/B010MOYKX6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1446280667&sr=1-1&keywords=deep+heat+selene+zanetti
And that wraps up my first ever Tess Woods Ultimate Holiday Reading Guide! So what did you think? Have you found some inspiration for your summer reading (or winter reading for those of you on the other side of the world)? I look forward to showcasing more talented authors next year and finding great books for you to read. Judging by the titles on my reading list, it’s looking like a fantastic year of books in 2016! Happy holidays lovely people xx
I’m delighted to introduce the very gorgeous Engy Albasel Neville and her debut novel A Leap in Time. Most (if not all) authors have a reading list a mile long. Other authors read our books so we in turn read theirs so that as a community we’re supportive of each other. I’m no exception to this rule, I sometimes feel as though I need ten lives to get through my reading list. The last thing I need is more new books to read.
But when I saw A Leap in Time being promoted on some book blogs that I follow, I just had to buy it! In 2015 it’s the only book I’ve bought purely because I wanted to for my own reading pleasure, without knowing the author. The premise of a love story set between modern day Los Angeles and ancient Pompeii was too good to pass up. I’d been to Pompeii and the ruins of this amazing city fascinated me, so of course a time travel love story set there grabbed my attention.
Not only did I buy the book but it jumped straight to the top of my reading list ahead of all the books that were patiently waiting their turn. And I wasn’t disappointed. I was drawn to Engy’s sweet and emotional writing style and then I was drawn to Engy herself when I got to know her afterwards – she’s a true kindred spirit and has become a very close and treasured friend.
I hope you love A Leap in Time as much as I did. I kept waiting for horrific things to happen to the characters I loved, with it being set in Pompeii and all, but it was just the most beautiful sweet read with no gory bits!
Here is the Amazon blurb of A Leap in Time, followed by my review of the book, a bit about Engy and my interview with her.
You can learn more about Engy by visiting her website http://www.engyalbaselneville.com/ and her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EngyAlbaselNeville?fref=ts
The morning after hanging an antique painting, Lexi Carter notices strange noises in her living room. Scared beyond words, she confronts the sounds only to discover that the landscape itself has come alive. Did Roman soldiers on horseback just gallop across the thing?
She impulsively touches the painting and is sucked into the world of ancient Pompeii. Lexi meets Marcus, a Roman Adonis, who occupies her every thought, and sends her senses into a tailspin.
The year is 59AD and Pompeii is at its peak of glory and prosperity. Lexi is faced with the decision of choosing between two worlds, her modern day Los Angeles or ancient Pompeii…with the man who captured her heart and soul.
My review of this book:
What a lovely, lovely story! From the first page I was hooked and needed to know how the story would end. This book shot straight up my reading pile when I saw it featured on book review sites because I was intrigued by the premise of a time travel storyline involving Pompeii where I visited last year. And Engy Albasel Neville didn't disappoint me by very cleverly bringing Pompeii to life in all its splendour. The main characters Lexi and Marcus are just beautiful inside and out and their emotional and brave journey had me cheering them on. Loved the setting, loved all the characters, loved the ending and can't wait to read the next book in this series!
About Engy Albasel Neville:
Engy Albasel Neville was born in Lod, Israel and grew up in Riverside, CA. Engy and her two younger brothers were raised in an Arab household infused with American culture, music, and food.
Even at a young age Engy enjoyed writing in all forms, although creative writing is where she flourished. Engy attended the University of LaVerne in Southern California, where she majored in Broadcasting and became a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, an organization she continues to hold near and dear.
Engy landed her first job in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry where she got her first taste of working with celebrities, coordinating red carpet events and overseeing press needs. Over the next decade, Engy worked across various sectors of brand management, leaving behind the glitz and glamour of “the biz”, although its imprint stayed with her enough to influence her debut novel.
Engy actually started writing A Leap In Time a few years after graduation. But for some reason, the timing for completing her novel was off. It wasn’t until she married her long-term boyfriend, Brian that the pieces began to fall into place. While honeymooning in Italy, they made a life-changing detour to Pompeii. A Leap In Timewas originally set in England during the Jane Austen era, but Engy felt an immediate magnetic attraction to Pompeii and knew without a doubt that it needed to be the focus of her story.
Engy lives with her husband, two active toddlers, and super hyper dog on Long Island, NY. She is currently working on the second novel in The Travelers series.
An interview with Engy Albasel Neville:
Tell us about your book:
A Leap In Time is a time travel romance set in ancient Pompeii (59 AD) and modern day Los Angeles.
Lexi Carter, the heroine in the story discovers a time travel portal disguised as painting of Pompeii. She’s freaked out as most of us would be but soon learns that time portals are not as uncommon as people thought and that. A gifted few are granted the gift of traveling to other worlds and she was one of the chosen travelers. Unable to resist the intrigue and adventure, Lexi takes a leap of faith and ventures to a world known best in modern day history books.
Pompeii doesn’t disappoint from culture to the sophisticated infrastructure and architecture. Lexi is drawn to the historical city immediately, feeling that somehow she belongs there. Enter Marcus, a wealthy Roman Adonis that captures Lexi’s heart and soul, defying any logic.
As Lexi becomes more attached to Pompeii and Marcus, she must choose between the two worlds.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on Loved In Time, the working title for the sequel of A Leap In Time. I had finished the sequel some time back and after much thought, I decided to revisit it and change some major plot ideas that include a few complications to the storyline and some challenges to the characters. Although it’s taken me a bit longer to wrap up the sequel, I know in my heart the story is stronger because of the revisions.
What do you love most about your main character?
I’ve loved Lexi Carter from the moment she spoke to me over a decade ago. She’s the girl next door at first sight but more than that below the surface. She’s an adventurer with a rooted sense of herself, a loyal friend and a compassionate human being that genuinely cares about the greater good than self-serving benefits. When her character began to take shape in my mind, her energy felt restless to me because on some level she wasn’t satisfied with status quo of working and socializing. Deep in her bones, she felt there was more to life than met the eye. Maybe it was a connection with worlds past or even the possibility of having past lives. When the enchanted portal chose her as a traveler, she felt it was a nod from the Universe confirming her intuition and therefore, it was her responsibility to give back somehow.
What is your writing routine like?
I write every single day. Some days, I’m lucky enough to be in the writing zone and I’m able to write for hours without stop. Other days I struggle with finding the words to express the storyline weaving in my head. Regardless of the kind of day I’m having, I make sure to write every day even if it’s just an hour.
Why do you write?
I love to write and have always found writing to be a wonderful creative outlet and release. When I’m writing, I feel a deep sense of calm that helps me stay grounded and connected to my inner higher self.
How do you beat writer’s block?
Writers block is every author’s worst enemy and we’ve all experienced it. Some authors believe that if you continue to write in spite of it, you’ll push through the difficult part and eventually get past whatever hurdle was causing the block. That method has never worked for me. Instead, I walk away from my laptop. Being a lover of nature, I draw energy and inspiration from being outside whether that’s in my garden or a nearby pond, hiking trail or park. I just know that I need to be outside. More often than not, whatever was blocking my creative flow is squashed during my outdoors escape.
Are you big on research? Tell us how you researched the book.
For A Leap In Time, I immersed myself in books, movies, visits to the museum, online research and even a trip to Pompeii. Visiting Pompeii in person while on our honeymoon is what actually began my obsession with the historical city buried in ash. I loved Pompeii and like Lexi, I felt an unexplainable connection to the city, the culture and way of life. Research is high on my list.
If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would you choose?
If I could be a fictional character for one day, I would be Lexi Carter, my adventurous heroine from A Leap In Time. The idea of time traveling to another world for a day sounds incredible.
What is your favourite motivational quote?
My favorite motivational quote is by Maya Angelou: ““I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
Describe your dream writing office.
My dream office is airy with lots of windows overlooking a beautiful quaint garden and the ocean just beyond it. I’m a lover of nature. The sounds and smells of a garden … a beach … chirping birds … give me such peace of mind and inner calm.